A high follower count or thousands of subscribers isn't what makes a good influencer—having influence over an audience's purchasing decisions does.
It's no wonder why testimonies about the effectiveness of influencer marketing range from "wildly successful" to "a waste of money".
In this episode of Shopify Masters, you’ll learn from an entrepreneur who figured out how to make money on YouTube by growing his business with YouTubers who have real influence over what people buy and partnering with them.
Ben Wieder is the founder of Chassis: the first and only premium men’s care line specifically formulated for better performance "down there”, keeping guys fresh, dry, and friction-free all day long.
It just feels good to know that even though we may not have launched a video this week, even this month, there’s still views happening every single day across the world.
Tune in to learn
- How to work with YouTube influencers that actually drive sales
- How to test your market using a panel study (and how much it costs)
- What questions to ask when you are designing your brand
Listen to the podcast below (or download it for later):
- Store: Chassis
- Social Profiles: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
- Recommendations: Level 6 (marketing agency), Survata (panel study company), Abandonment Protector Plus (Shopify app), Stamped.io (Shopify app), Langify (Shopify app)
Felix: Today, I’m joined by Ben Weider from Chassis. Chassis is the first and only premium men’s care line, specifically formulated for better performance “down there”. Keeping guys fresh, dry, and friction-free all day long. It was started in 2015, and based out of Tampa Bay, Florida. Welcome, Ben.
Ben: Hey. Thanks, Felix. Glad to be here.
Felix: Yeah. So, tell us more about this tagline for “down there”. I think it’s really funny, [inaudible 00:01:06] for sure. Who’s idea was this?
Ben: Well, Man Care For Down There is one of my partners actually. So, first of all, our name Chassis … If you’re not a car guy, you may be wondering where the heck did that come from. Is it French? No, Chassis is the undercarriage of a car. So, it’s kind of a nice way of describing what we did. And, the folks at our car guys love our name. They think it’s really quite funny.
But, really our idea is that we wanted to be the first and only premium line dedicated for better performance down there when it comes to sweat, odor, chafing, overall comfort. These are problems that guys have. Guys are … We’re sweaty, we’re athletic in some cases, some cases we might be overweight, we’re hairy. There’s a lot of things are going on down there. And, you know for literally generation guys had just been using baby powder or “medicated powder”, which provided some effect but we had an idea that there could be a better way to do this. And, that was the whole goal with our product.
Felix: Got it. So, you know, speaking of the name. And, for folks out there, it’s spelled C-H-A-S-S-I-S. Was that ever … Was that an issues where you ran into where people wanted to learn more about your product, they couldn’t look it up? How much … How difficult it does make it for you?
Ben: It’s kind of funny, I mean, I think that one thing we have realized is that, for better or worse, guys, which, of course, our product is targeted for men, are becoming less and less into cars. So, while somebody in their fifties or sixties, of course, they know what a chassis is. It’s highly likely that somebody in their twenties may not know what a chassis is. And, it may take them a minute to figure this out. So, we’ve seen a little bit of a gap there.
But, what’s interesting is that you know the people who think it’s just a French name, or just you know a made-up name, or whatever in either case is not been a problem. In fact, one of my partners feels that the mystery of the name for certain people might actually be a draw. So, you know, in either event it’s something that were quite proud of. And, I think that when you’re a niche brand like we are, I believe it’s best to just say what you do.
So, we’ve got a great name and our tagline is very descriptive. You know? There’s no wondering what it is that we do. And then, when you look at our different products, when you pick up our premium powder, or our shower primer, or extreme cream and you try to figure out what is it that these guys do with it doesn’t take but a couple of seconds to have a pretty good idea of not only what we do, but why we believe we’re better than the competition.
Felix: Got it. Now, how did you get into this industry? What’s your background?
Ben: So, my background is a little different. I actually own and still own a successful full service marketing agency called, Level Six. And, you know as happens often, I regularly have people approach me with ideas. And, sometimes it’s just bounce ideas off of me and sometimes it’s potentially to me become a partner. And, way back in 2010, I can’t believe it’s been that long, my partners came to me and said, “Hey, we’ve got this idea for a new men’s care line.” One of the partners actually had worked in health and beauty. One of the others had a sales background. So, they certainly had a good you know foundation there.
And, they said, “We’re thinking of getting into men’s grooming.” And, I believe it was the shaving category. And, they had a couple of unique selling proposition is there. And, they said, “What do you think?” And, I replied immediately that, well, it sounds good, but that’s a very, very competitive space. And, it just so happened that I had for years had this idea as a body powder user myself that there’s got to be a way to make a better powder.
So, in that same conversation I said, “You know, listen. If you would ever have any interest in making a better powder for guys, not only do I think that’s a great idea, but I would like to become a partner with that.” And, it didn’t take but a couple of minutes for them to think it over and say that’s great and then I guess the rest is history.
Felix: Do you see this happen often in your industry? In the marketing agency side where people come and partner up with marketing agencies?
Ben: You know, it’s interesting. I don’t know how often it happens to other folks, but you know I would say every year there’s probably three or four opportunities for us to get involved. Some are direct where people will come directly to us and say, we don’t have the funds, would you like to take na owner ownership stake? Some, you know, they have the funds and we just think it’s such a home run idea that we would like to become a part of it.
But, then all the years … I’ve owned the agency for about 13 years now. I’ve only done this three or four times total. So, it really takes a special situation. And, none, I would say, and this is in all fairness to the other opportunities, which have also worked out well, but none have been as successful as Chassis.
I mean, this has been … We thought we had something great on our hands, but it’s definitely exceeded even our wildest expectations and then we couldn’t be happier at the moment.
Felix: Got it. Now, so what does each side bring to the table between that the market agency and that the partner?
Ben: So, we’ve got … There’s a handful partners at this point. Flash forward a few years and we have an investor as well. But the three primary partners … And, I the most active one in the early years, by the way, because owning a marketing agency afforded me the ability to sort of take time out of my day and also start a Men’s Grooming brand.
While I wasn’t full time on it at the time, I was the only one who had the ability to do that. My partners still had full-time jobs at that point. But, obviously, from a marketing standpoint, I’ve seen and done it all. I’ve seen what works, I’ve seen what doesn’t work. And, that … I think certainly brought a lot to the table. Another partner, he came from consumer packaged goods and health and beauty specifically online through eCommerce. So, that was a perfect fit.
And then, the third partner comes with basically an entire career of sales experience at a very high level. So, you combine the three and it’s a pretty good mix. And then, obviously, we’ve surrounded ourselves with not only great employees at this point, but, of course, lots of great partners that we work with as well.
Felix: Got it. Now, when you first started with the brand did you release all the products of the store? Or, what did you start with first?
Ben: Yeah, pretty much, what you see today is … We did shortly after launch, maybe a year after launch, we released an unscented version of our powder that’s very popular. Our fragrance is clean, and light, and masculine. But, a lot of guys were saying, you know, “When you get out of an unscented version?” And, obviously they’re all thinking an unscented version of the same product is relatively simple. So, that’s out there.
We’re about to introduce a new product and I guess I can probably talk about it at this point since this will are in a few weeks here, but it’ll be called, “Chassis Premium Powder Ice”, our ice formula. And, basically, it’s just gonna have four times the cooling action. ’Cause, believe it or not, a lot of guys like that. They like that cooling feeling down there, especially if they have any kind of discomfort it sort of numbs the pain and kind of gives him a fresh feeling.
So, we have no idea how well this will do, but we’ve got you no hopes that it will do very well for us.
Felix: Got it. Now, you knew you wanted the products that you guys put out. Early on, were you able to test this out in the market? How did you know that there was a demand for a product like this?
Ben: Oh, that’s a great question. Long before we started Chassis. In fact, even before we started the company, the LLC, we wanted to first test our intuition that guys not only use powder, of course, we knew that, you know, being on sports teams in college a lot of guys use powder, but, a, that they use it, and be, that they’re looking for something better.
And so, we invested a decent amount of money with him very reputable third-party panel company to do a panel study for us to validate those two questions. And, what we found was it is true, that a lot of guys use powder, it’s not all guys, it’s not even the majority of guys, but it’s still a pretty good percentage. And then, there’s also a group of guys who don’t use powder who are curious or who have discomfort down there and just don’t even know about it because you have to remember before Chassis, really, nobody talked about this.
You know, guys were using baby powder or medicated powder and they were just sort of you know using alternative products for a different use. And so, again, there’s that group of guys who are like, well yeah, I sweat down and I wish there was something for me, but they had no idea there was even anything out there.
And then, there’s a whole other group of guys who really have no problems. I mean, they’re blessed I suppose. They don’t sweat down there, they don’t have odor, they don’t even know what the word chaffing means. For those guys, obviously, they’re not a target. But, that’s okay. And, the example that I gave all along when we analyzed the data was, I said, "Look, you know, if you think about saline solution, which I don’t know if you were contacts, but I do. And, a good bottle of saline solution is gonna cost you almost $10 today.
And, the percentage of people who wear contacts, I don’t know how high it is, but let’s just say it’s 20% for argument’s sake. Well, as a percentage of the general population, that’s not great, but when you start to think about the raw count of how many people that is me you’re talking about tens of millions of Americans who need your product.
And so, while we are only for men and we are a niche and not for everybody, we’re still something that’s available to to millions and millions of men. And, I think that’s part of our story, that not only was there a need, but we found a way to develop something. And, through a lot of hard work. And, that’s a whole other story, but we were able to crack the code and come up with something better.
Felix: So, this panel study, this is something that I haven’t heard other entrepreneurs on this podcast using to test the market. What goes into a panel study? What’s involved?
Ben: Well, there’s a lot of companies that do it. We’re working with a newer company for our … Our most recent panel study is called, Survata. And, I believe it’s S-U-R-V-A-T-A. They’ve been pretty good. And, they’ve been very responsive. They can get these studies out quick. They’ll tell you how many … What the size of the sample you need to receive. Certain confidence intervals.
I’m not a statistician, by the way, but that’s what these companies are for. Are these as good as getting 500 people that are thoroughly vetted to answer questions in a multimillion-dollar study? Probably not. These aren’t the kinds of studies you would do to evaluate new medicines, and pharmaceuticals, or anything like that. But, when you get a panel study and they have certain metrics that they look for … And, you can say, I’m only looking for men between 18 and 65, or whatever it is that what you’re looking for in a given study. And then, you develop your questionnaire and they’ll you in case there’s any questions that are formatted incorrectly or what have you.
And then, you get your results. And, your results, you can get them back as soon as really a couple of hours.
Ben: So, I wouldn’t say it’s cheap, but when you think about what you get for that, you really get a good roadmap and it can help very quickly validate what it is that you’re doing. You know, like I said, we’re going through that now with a couple of new products that were working that I can’t talk about yet, but what this has been really helpful for is to identify things like ingredients.
We’re asking the question now, “What are some things that you don’t want in these new products?” And so, we’ll give them multiple choice and list off certain ingredients. And, just a quick one that’s kind of funny. One of the options is GMOs, which, of course, everyone’s saying they don’t want in their food nowadays. If you go to Whole Foods or whatever, but what’s funny is guys are now saying they don’t want GMOs in their grooming products.
So, I don’t even know what that entails.
Felix: Slap the organic label on them, I guess.
Ben: Yeah. No. And, organic. That’s another point too. Developing true organic products is very, very costly. And, furthermore, the efficacy of an organic product product in the health and beauty space is never going to be on par with other products. I mean, that’s just a fact of the business. So, you have to kind of try to think about, what are the worst offenders? You know, the parabens, and the sulfates, and things like that, that people you don’t want and you leave those ingredients out.
But, if you go truly all organic, number one high cost of goods, but number two, in any kind of study where you’re going to evaluate the actual efficacy it’s not going to compare. So, really, I think what you’re gonna probably see is natural products or products claiming to be natural.
And, obviously, you probably read too that natural doesn’t really mean anything. It means something, but it’s not an official thing like organic. But, I think that’s where Chassis fits. We knew what we didn’t want. We knew we didn’t want talc, we knew we didn’t want parabens, menthol. Guys really didn’t want menthol in the product, so we left that out of there as well.
Aluminum, we left the aluminum out. So, yo know, you go down the list and you can kind of think about those worst offenders and then develop a product that way. But, these panel studies … Long answer to your short question. They’re incredibly valuable and I can’t recommend them enough.
Felix: Yes. It certainly sounds like it saves you time and then also lots of money on making sure you’re not developing products or using ingredients that people don’t want. And then, those two coupled together give you the confidence to move forward, I think. With what you’re saying, it is very invaluable.
So, what’s the budget for something like this? Are you talking like four figures, give figures, six figures? How expensive can a panel study get?
Ben: It just depends on what you’re looking for. I will say, I think the cost has actually come down like a lot of things nowadays online. I think our first panel study back in 2010 actually cost a fair amount more than the most recent one we ran, which is kind of interesting. So, almost eight years later here, but we’re talking it could be as low as the hundreds of dollars. And, it, again, it depends on how many questions and what sample size you’re looking for.
But, yeah, it can get into the four figures, but I don’t think … For most entrepreneurs, whatever it is, it’s worth it. And, I think to not do that with that ability do a study, develop it, launch it, and get her results back in, say, 48 hours? That’s an incredible thing that you know we wouldn’t have had the ability to do a generation ago.
I mean, in fact, really, if you really want to get philosophical about it, your entire podcast … Our entire business model wouldn’t been possible generation ago. And, we’re not selling internationally. Around the world. And, were able to you know tabulate different prices and different tax rules. And, different shipping rules. And, it’s all automated. And, none of this was possible a generation ago.
So, technology has really helped a lot of brands like Chassis do things that we never could have dreamed of.
Felix: So, they create the study and collect the panel. Is it all online? Is that how it works?
Ben: Uh, yes. It’s all online. There’s different methodologies that they’ll use. With the current company Survata that we’re working with they’ll give you a couple different options, different price points on how they collect it. And, really just comes down to sample size at the end of the day because you know you can argue, okay, did we get the age right? Did we get …? But, what they know is they know the gender, they know the age, and then if you get the sample size large enough, like, say north of 500, I believe, and don’t quote me. I mean, you’re talking about a 95 percent …
I think around confidence level at that point. And, that’s pretty significant. So, you can argue was this the right 500 people? But, that’s where the statisticians come up with their different sample size and the confidence levels because it shouldn’t matter. If you have 500 people and there’s a consensus it really shouldn’t matter.
And, I think that’s exciting, right? I mean, one of the things we’re doing now is we’re evaluating a product name. Or, I should say, we recently evaluated a product name and we put a bunch of product names out there. And, I believe we did it to around 500 people in a panel and there was one particular name that overwhelmingly tested better than the others. And, we never could have guessed that.
But, when you have 500 guys that are answering a survey and let’s say there was … And, I don’t know the statistics, but there were about eight names, or something. And, I believe that the number one name received over 40% of the first-place votes. I mean, that’s pretty overwhelming.
Felix: It sounds like you design the questions and then also give them the demographic you wanted to target. What tips do you have here on how to design the right questions to ask in a panel? And then … Well, we’ll start there first thing and I’ll ask you about demographics.
Ben: Sure. Well, I mean, first of all, I think it’s important to understand your audience, right? And, I think that you can say, well, do we want to just say our target maybe is … Like, everyone’s target today is millennials, right? So, I’m gonna go, for argument’s sake, 18 to 35. You know? The coveted group that everyone in media is trying to reach. Well, that’s true, but when we look at who’s buying chassis, it’s all ages. And in those ages really run the gamut.
They go from 18 to … We have 80 year old buying Chassis. Are they buying it at the frequency of a 27 year old? No. But, they’re still buying it. So, what’s nice about the online panel studies, in my opinion, is that often times the age distribution will closely match the distribution of the most target markets today because in general you’re going to have younger people online more. They’re probably more likely to be incentivized to take a survey. And so, when we get a results, and we just generally do, I think, 18 to 65, or something like that, men, of course. And, the distribution of ages closely approximates where we’re getting our purchases from anyway.
So, it works out quite well. Now, obviously, if we were selling a geriatric product or something then we would just say, okay we we only want men 65 and up, or whatever it would be. And, as far as the questions, I mean, really, it’s what you want to ask. And, I’ve found that you can’t be vague about it. You just have to give specific questions.
I mean, they can’t be open-ended in other words. There’s no way to statistically validate an open-ended question, you know, free response. So, you’ve gotta either have multiple choice, multiple select, those sorts of things. And, a good panel partner, they’re gonna give you everything you need in charts. You can take those charts and throw them right into a PowerPoint if you wanted to for partners or investors.
I think most importantly, if you’re going to go through the trouble of doing these panel studies, you know, make sure you follow through on it. I mean, if you’re getting these great result that kind of give you a roadmap, well then, you better follow that advice. Otherwise, what’s the point doing it?
Felix: What’s the price from the from this panel study? We’re there any things that came back in the report from the panel that made you guys change the way you position the product? Or, change the way you design a product?
Ben: Yeah, I mean, I think that it was interesting … I can’t get into too much details, but there was an ingredient, actually a series of ingredients that were testing. Not for the negative aspects, but for the positive aspects. So, we had a separate question that was evaluating the types of ingredients they would want to appear in the product.
And, remember we’re not asking them to be chemists. We know that we’re not asking a bunch of chemists here to evaluate this, but nevertheless they’re consumers. And so, what we put into the product does matter because they’re the ones buying it. And so, again, we put seven or eight good ingredients that we were thinking about putting into this new product and there is one ingredient that we threw in there sort of as a kicker because, frankly, it’s kind of an old-school ingredient that really doesn’t do a whole heck of a lot, but what’s amazing about it is it that’s the one that tested number one.
I never would have put it into the product, but it was so overwhelming that were probably going to put it into the product just because you guys are looking for it. Is it bad ingredient? Absolutely not. Does it have some positive attributes, of course. Is it as effective as some of the other ingredients that we evaluated? No. Not at all. Not even close, but we’re probably going to put it into the product nevertheless because clearly you know the guys spoke and they’re looking for it.
Felix: Yeah. I think there’s something to be said about being flexible in that way where you can not only build the product that you want, you obviously have to make adjustments to make sure that it’s product that you’re their customers want. I think a lot of times entrepreneurs get blinded and they … They’re a visionary. They have vision in mind, they just go out and execute it. And, sometimes it works and usually we’ll hear about those success stories. But, most of the time, it doesn’t if you are not flexible and adapting to what your customers are asking for.
Ben: And, that’s the big word. You hit it on the head, adapting. I mean, otherwise why are you doing this? If you think you know everything, don’t bother with the panel study. But, if you think that your customer base has something to add in the product development and R&D phase then then not only, a, do it, but, b, heed their advice.
Felix: So, you have a lot of experience in creating a brand and creating brands because of your marketing agency and now with Chassis, well, what goes into creating a brand? I think this is a common almost like statement people make where they say, okay, you have to create a brand to survive. You have to create a brand, create a brand. But then, how you actually distill that down to actions that you have to take to make sure you are doing the activities necessary to create a brand?
Ben: Well, you know, one thing that I always like to say is that really you have to flip it around. You have to say what do you not want to be as a brand? I often find it that’s a better way to approach it.
So, for example, with Chassis, not only are we a premium brand, we’re premium priced, but we don’t hide from that fact. So, as a premium product, one of the ground rules that we have is we’re not going to have sales. And, certainly not regular sales if we ever do. We’re not gonna have regular discounts because, again, if we’re a premium product and all the sudden we’re going on sale every 5 days, are we really appreciate a product anymore at that point?
So, you have to kind of create those ground rules. I mean, right now, we’re a direct-to-consumer brand, like most of the people that are on this podcast. That’s what we’re doing. And, I’ll give you another example. We actually just this week signed a very important contract with a major retailer where in this situation we’re going to be going from a three-piece seller, which is what I think most of probably your guests are, to what’s called a one piece seller, where this particular retailer will be you know buying wholesale from us and then only selling online. That was one of my ground rules because, again, we want to stay in the eCom only space. But, part of my rules of engagement here …
Again, the power of saying, no, was that I was only going to do this deal if we had control over the price. Specifically, the bottom line lowest price that they could sell it for. And, what we didn’t want to do is go into a 1P relationship and all the sudden you could buy it on this marketplace for less than what you could buy another marketplaces. As soon as that happens, it’s a race to the bottom.
I think that really, in my experience, you know, creating a brand, and creating a great brand name, and a great logo, and great timeline, all of that is important and we could have a whole separate interview just on that alone. But, what’s really important is preserving that brand once it created. I mean that’s the hard part.
Felix: Got it. And, this is the idea of setting these boundaries that you want your brand to exist within. And, not to cross into an area that you do not want your brand to be. How does this enforcement work when you have a company where there’s multiple people working on it? How do you make sure everyone is on brand?
Ben: That’s a really good question. I mean, I think, first and foremost, I’m very lucky that my partner’s allow me to sort of be the keeper of the brand. I think given my my other job as an owner of a marketing agency they kind of just get out my way on that side.
I can’t do a lot of things they do. We’ve got a guy, Peyton, who is our international guy. In the last year, he’s gotten us to be a true international brand. And, I don’t mean just shipping from United States. We’re talking different bottles with translations and different versions of our websites. And, different marketplaces all these different … That imports fees. And, I don’t even understand this stuff. That’s left brain stuff that’s way out of my wheelhouse.
But, I understand a brand. So, I think it’s really part of a bigger question from an organizational standpoint. Obviously, we’re still not a huge company but with the handful of people that we have running the show everyone knows what their role is. And, when it comes to branding, and when it comes to new to pricing, and when it comes to any of those sorts of decisions, ultimately, I’ve kind of been the keeper of that.
And, we’re a great team. We all get along. And, I really don’t think that … I can’t even remember one time where we’ve ever had an impasse, or fight, or an argument. We all respect each other’s abilities, and what we bring to the table, and it just works great.
Felix: Yeah. So, I think at this scale, the communication aspect of it is obviously very important. And then, it sounds like you kind of roll up the big brand decisions up to just one decision maker and it’s you in this case so that it doesn’t get diluted between multiple people. And, it’s obviously working for you at this scale.
Now, another piece of the brand is with the packaging. I really like the way that the product is packaged. How did you get that design and made?
Ben: Wow, yeah. We’ve got … Holy cow. Where do I start with that? So, first of all, let me just say, we had a former employee, she’s actually our very first employee a few years back right before we launched. And, we are almost ready to go to market and everything is ready. The formula was ready and we were just going through some final testing. And, on day one, she did about the bravest thing that any employee can ever do and she told me that she thought our packaging sucked.
I don’t think you use those words exactly, but she said, look, if you’re gonna sell this for $18 does this really look like an $18 package to you? And, I thought about and it was interesting ’cause one of the things that I realized in that process by the way, and this is a little bit of a side, but if you look at premium products in many industries, but specifically in health and beauty and grooming, you’ll find that the simpler the design the higher-end the product.
And, the more extravagant with metals and shadows and gradients and all these different things that are going on, those tend to be or lower retail brands. And, it’s a little counter intuitive, but certainly that was the case. In fact, I can see it. We still have our original package that never launched sitting on my shelf. It objectively looks fine and if it was sitting there on the shelf at Walmart it looks great. You know, if it was sitting there next to Old Spice, or Right Guard, or something like that, I don’t think anyone would have a problem with it.
But, if it were sitting on my shelf next to higher-end brands, it absolutely did not look the part. And so, it was a valuable lesson. I’m internally grateful for her saying something on day one. And then, obviously, that added to the cost of goods because to have a premium will do that, but, again, if you’re a premium product, you gotta walk the walk.
And, I think that that’s what we were able to do. And, I appreciate the feedback on that.
Felix: So, did you have a good designer work on it? Like, what was the process for creating it? This iteration at least.
Ben: Yeah. My graphic design on the Level Six side actually does most of the work for Chassis. He’s fantastic. And so, we worked with him, Chris. He’s a superstar. And, he put that together. And, we have a packaging supplier to work with. They’re great and they provided a lot of good options for us. I think, it’s kind of funny, we kept checking every box. We wanted two color instead of one color and we wanted custom colors. And, we wanted custom caps and custom this. And, custom that. You know, we warned that it was adding to the cost, but I think at that point we were committed.
Again, we have to walk the walk. If we’re a premium product, we gotta look premium. At the end of the day, we’re talking a few pennies per package for each of these decisions, not that significant in the scheme of things. So, we just went with it.
Felix: Yeah. I like that exercise that you guys did at least mentally where you place your product next to products that exist in the same category. And, does it seem like it would be as valuable or ideally more valuable than the products that it’s sitting next to.
So, I think that’s an important exercise to do. Even if you’re not selling necessarily inside a retail store it can exist in someone’s mind that way. So, I think that’s an important exercise that you guys went through.
Felix: Now, one thing you mentioned as well was about YouTube as a way that you’ve been able to drive attention to your brand. Talk to us about that. How have you been using YouTube and YouTubers?
Ben: Well, that’s … I can’t say enough about YouTube for our brand. And, I don’t know that it would work for every brand. But, for what we do you, especially, when you’re having to explain to potentially an entire generation of guys, not only what is a chassis, but specifically why they shouldn’t be using powder, you know, it’s an eye-opener. And, I think that the nice thing about a men’s product is the amount of influencers is far less than it would be for a woman’s product, obviously.
I mean, if you just look at it, it probably closely mirrors the actual annual revenue of health and beauty for women versus men. But, really you’re only talking about a dozen or so really impactful influencers that are out there. And so, we’re working with some of the biggest ones that are out there. They do a great job for us. They’re an extension of our brand. In the beginning, we had to thoroughly vet every word they said and as time goes on, the more we work with them, we allow them a little bit more flexibility. They know the things they can stay in the things and the things they can’t say about our brand.
And, you know, overall it’s just something that … What I love about it the most, I think, is that it’s always working for us. Yes, you’re going to see the most impact the day that a video launches ’cause that’s the day that most the views are gonna happen, but every day every one of these videos that we’ve developed is capturing more and more views.
And, it just feels good to know that even though we may not have launched a video this week, or even this month potentially, there’s still views happening every single day across the world. And, more and more people are finding out about Chassis. And, that’s a pretty cool feeling.
Felix: So, do they review of the brand? What’s the kind of content that they’re creating for Chassis?
Ben: First of all, we will not do a video with anybody until they try our product. And, we really want this to be authentic because if they don’t believe that we are the best product, specifically, the best powder for guys then we don’t want them doing it for us because otherwise, it’s not authentic. It’s just a terrible infomercial at that point.
And so, anybody who works with us, even before they do, they’re going to get the samples and they’re going to tell us you know what they think. What they like, what they don’t like. Is this something that they would use? And, I’ll be honest, there’s a few times where we didn’t like we heard. Or, we didn’t believe them. It wasn’t believable and we’ve said, “We’re gonna pass on this opportunity.”
So, for us, authenticity is critical. Not only in the talent themselves, but how they feel about Chassis. I mean, you gotta have that. If you don’t have that, there’s there’s really no sense in doing influencer marketing.
Felix: So, what the process? You send out the product to the influencer and then you first have a conversation with him to see if they’ve actually tried the product? If they actually appear passionate enough? What’s the set up before the video happens?
Ben: Yeah. That’s basically it. I mean, first of all, we’re constantly looking at influencers, new ones, and we’re evaluating a couple ones right now, in fact, to see if their general tone fits with our brand. And, if it does, we’ll reach out to either them or their representatives and say we’re interested in potentially working with you.
Usually, we’ll have an initial conversation, which is immediately followed by us sending them a full line of our samples. And then, we’ll follow up, see what they think, see if they think this fits with them, see how they genuinely feel. And, we’ll look to see if they’re understanding what Chassis is. I mean, it’s not a “me too” product. We worked very, very hard to make sure that this wasn’t a “me too” product.
And, if their reaction smells like somebody who’s not believing it and not understanding it then walk the other way because if they can’t make us believe it then how are they going to make millions of Americans believe it?
Felix: And, one other thing you mentioned was they have to be the right kind of YouTuber that sort can actually have leverage in influencing their viewers. And, I think this is important because I think you can look for two different YouTubers and they both appear to be in the same the same category. That they’re an 18, 35 year old male is their demographic. But, one can be more influential than the other.
What’s the difference? What’s the key to someone being more influence than another when you at YouTubers for your influencer marketing?
Ben: That’s a great question. For us, what we found, I call it, the best friend or older cousin. So, it goes like this. For us, what we found is that if we work with influencers who not only … Maybe they are young or they look young, they are not very effective for us. We have tried a few guys … In fact, one in particular was not young, but he looks like he’s 12 years old and we did a huge video with him. Pretty big budget and it did nothing for our brand at all.
And, of course, hindsight is 20/20. And, again, this is going to vary depending on your brand. But, for our brand, I call it the older cousin. So, they don’t want to hear from their dads, but they want to hear from their older cousin. So, it’s like that half a generation up is what we find works really well. So, there’s another influence really work with does who does a great job for us who happens to be very young. I mean, he’s in his early twenties, but he looks much, much older. He looks older, acts older. I would think the average viewer probably would suspect he’s in his early to mid-thirties, in fact.
And, as such, he does great for us. But, again there’s other influencers, if they’re just too young, I don’t think … We don’t have the credibility factor probably a lot of the young viewers are looking for.
Felix: Yeah. So, it’s like, they might have the same demographic, but the viewer doesn’t relate to them in the same way where they are … That looks like someone that’s just like me or someone that’s around … That has my life experience. If they might be following them and if they might fall in the demographic that exists for you. But, if the YouTuber is talking about your products, but then they can’t see themselves in that YouTuber shoes then they’re probably not going to be influential.
Ben: That’s exactly right.
Felix: Got it. And so, you mentioned that when you’re first starting off, I think this is an important point for anyone else that’s trying … That wants to take the same strategy, you have to be a little bit more hands on with the kind of messaging that you want influencer to put out there. What kind of guidance can you give an influencer, whether it be on YouTube or anywhere else, to make sure that it kind of ticks the right box for you?
Ben: Well, first and foremost, we start with, okay, it’s pronounced to Chassis, not Chass-is, or something like that. Right? So, it starts there. But, really from there, it just goes down to talking about why we’re better than the other options you have out. Why we’re healthier than the other options that are out there. And, most importantly we don’t want to be lowbrow. For us, back to that whole power of, no, our line in the sand is our tagline, “Man Care For Down There” is really as humorous as we want to get.
If it’s any funnier, more goofy, you know, sophomoric, whatever adjective you want to use, that’s the kind of stuff that we’re going to walk away from because there are a few other brands out there they compete with us and don’t necessarily think their formula is as good, number one, but more importantly there they’re all going for that sort of low-brow humor, that sophomoric humor.
And, that’s okay. I think there’s a place for that, but that’s not what we are. That’s not what the Chassis brand is.
Felix: Got it. So when I was doing some research on you guys, I found the Amazon listings for you. And, you guys are selling a bunch on Amazon. Lots of reviews on Amazon. What’s that experience been like so far?
Ben: Well, you know, it’s interesting. I was at a big conference, actually a men’s conference in the lifestyle space a couple months ago. And, it was a lot of other brands there there were sponsoring and we got to talking. And, what’s interesting is that, you know, we’ve kind of had a two prong approach from day one. We of course wanted to have our own Shopify store and grow that as much as we could, but we also wanted to recognize how powerful Amazon is.
I mean, at the end of the day, if you ignore Amazon, you’re ignoring half of all eCommerce in the United States. But, what’s interesting is that a lot of these other brands weren’t doing that. And, they had a whole bunch of reasons why they thought that was a good idea, specifically that you don’t really own your customer on Amazon. You can’t really market to them on Amazon. And, that’s absolutely true. You know, your CRM opportunities on Amazon are not, obviously, as good as they would be on your Shopify store.
However, I mean, I can just tell you the conversion percentage on Amazon is high. And, it’s very high compared to our Shopify store. Our Shopify store has great conversion, don’t get me wrong. I would probably put it up against any other Shopify store out there, but it’s even higher on Amazon. And, I think that, that makes sense when you think about buyer behavior. I mean, you’ve got, what is it? A hundred million plus, I don’t know what the latest number is, Prime accounts. And, remember, that just accounts, that’s not individuals.
So, you’re talking probably a few hundred million Americans have access to a Prime account, which already has all your information stored, it has all your credit cards stored, so, literally, with a single click or just saying something to Alexa, you can buy the product. So, from that standpoint, of course, the conversion is gonna be higher on Amazon.
What we absolutely still want is we want a great experience on Shopify if you’d rather by Shopify go for it. Shopify is gonna give you a much better experience when it comes to the flexibility in selling your product in videos, and different views, and explanations … It’s a much, much better showroom, I guess, is a way to put it, objectively, than Amazon would ever be. And, you know, we can see that. We can see how many people start on the Shopify site and then decide, you know what? I’d rather just buy it on Amazon. And, that’s fine. And, we’re happy to do that.
So, we don’t play favorites. At the end of the day, we’re trying to make money here, and Amazon’s been great. People have responded you know amazingly to it. You’ve mentioned the number of reviews and it’s important know that that’s just over two years worth of reviews. And, in a niche category, that’s pretty impressive.
Felix: Yeah. I think one thing you touched on was that there is this legitimate shopper profile that is the Amazon Shopper that will only buy on Amazon. And, they won’t go anywhere else to buy it even if it exists elsewhere. They will go to Amazon first and if it’s there they’re gonna buy first even if they’re going to pay a slight premium or … They just know to go … It’s a well trodden path for them to just go and buying things online. And, they’ll stick with Amazon. So, like you were saying, if you don’t sell on Amazon, you could lose out on those shoppers that will only buy on Amazon. They’re just Amazon buyers.
Ben: Yeah. That’s exactly right. Yep.
Felix: Now, when it comes to the Shopify site, can you talk to us about the design behind that? How di you guys get the site built?
Ben: Well, this is already version two of our site, which makes sense ’cause we’re couple years into it. And, you know, even with our clients on the agency side we try to push to at least freshen up your site every couple of years. Chris, our designer, did a great job with that. He’s actually learn some pretty amazing Shopify skills during the process as well. Gotta give him credit for that as well.
But, when you look at the site, I mean, I think it’s definitely a premium looking site. It’s clean, which, again, lends itself to that cleaner look tends to be a little bit higher end, generally speaking. And, really, we just wanted something that sold our story, sold our our products, obviously, and gave people the option to buy it however they wanted to buy it.
And, you know, it’s been a great place. I just got the stats earlier today, I mean, the traffic increase on our site over the last year, just on our site alone, from what I was told, it’s almost triple the amount of daily visitors that we’re getting this year compared to last year. I mean, that’s pretty staggering.
Felix: So, you said this is version two. Did you come into this redesign with certain elements or certain goals in mind in creating a new version of the website design?
Ben: Yeah. I mean, I believe what we did before … Part of the reason that prompted it was we needed more features from Shopify. I think before, we were probably using a WordPress site with a Shopify plug-in. In fact, yeah, that’s what we were doing. I had to think back a few months here. And so, when we decided that, hey, we got to go for shopping by now, we got to get more features out of this, that prompted us to say, okay, we’ll just give it a different look. It’s time. Yeah. Maybe, it’s a little on the early side, being just a couple of years into this, but no, it’s worked well. Our conversion is up with the new design. And, our traffic certainly up.
So, anybody who thinks that Shopify can’t rank from an SEO standpoint is wrong because it’s only going up with the new platform.
Felix: I like that you have this, “Under The Hood” section too, which I believe breaks down a lot of the ingredients or maybe all the ingredients that are going to to the product. Did you have this on the first version of the site? What made you guys decide to have this particular page not only exist on the site, but also be in the top navigation?
Ben: Yeah. We did. I mean, it’s interesting. We’re a premium product, but we really do have premium ingredients. When our chemists told us that he could do this … And, remember we went through a lot of trial-and-error with Chassis. We went through, I think, three different chemists before we finally found somebody who could do what we wanted because you got to remember the health and beauty industry is very derivative. That’s just how it works. And, I don’t know if people are aware of what I mean by that, but basically most of what you’re picking up on the shelf starts with another product.
So, it starts with saying, okay, I like this shampoo or this deodorant, but I want to make this tweak to it. And, that’s really how most the product evolve. So, it’s more of an evolutionary process. And, the other side of it that’s interesting is that usually what happens is that you work with a contract manufacturer with their own in-house chemists and these in-house chemists are basically gonna come with a pretty good offer. They’re gonna say we could do it either for free or very low-cost to develop your product.
But, a caveat is that you don’t own that formula. That formula’s technically owned by that contract manufacturer. And so, unfortunately, I think most people out there probably believe that that’s the only way to develop health and beauty because that’s really the how the vast majority of it is developed. But, at the 11th hour, when we we’re ready to give up, we realized that the contract manufacturers, frankly, at least the ones that were working with, I don’t want to disparage all of them, but the ones we were working with did not have the talent to develop a revolutionary product, a ground-up product that was truly something new.
I then worked the phones and called all over the world to try to find somebody and then I got a name of a guy who was an in-house chemist for lab, but also freelanced and was willing to … We were able to work a deal where he developed it for us, but we own the formula. And, I think that that gives us the flexibility. Not that we don’t love our contract manufacturers that we are working with. They’re awesome, they do a great job, but it’s nice to know that we own that IP.
And, you know, I was listening to a podcast recently with a company that sold for several hundred million dollars in the beauty space that admitted in the interview that they didn’t own their own formula, but still sold the company for hundreds of millions of dollars. And, I thought that was fascinating that it’s just generally accept that that’s just how the business works. But, in our case, we had to go a different route and it was worth the extra effort to get there.
And, back to your original question, “Under The Hood” is a way for us to really highlight some of those superstar ingredients that we have that you’re not going to find in a typical product.
Felix: Got it. So, on the rest of the site, are there any applications that you guys use weather either on you Shopify site or to just help you run the business in general?
Ben: Yeah. We use a lot. I don’t know what the norm is for your listeners out there and how many [crosstalk 00:49:11]
Felix: They would love to hear, so, yeah, tell us all the ones that you like.
Ben: Yeah. I’ll tell you some of our favorite ones. And, all together we probably got over a dozen that were using, but some of the best ones for cart abandonment … I don’t know if you guys ever talked about cart abandonment on the show, but we use abandonment protector plus. There’s a lot of cart abandonment tools out there. I don’t know if the one we’re using is the best, but it’s working fine.
And, it more than pays for itself. It’s a subscription, but every day it’s recovering sales that we would have lost by allowing people to click and go right back to their cart and finish the transaction. So, that’s a really cool one that we like to work with.
We found stamped.io. I don’t know if you guys have ever talked about that before, but you know we use them as a layer above the Shopify reviews. So, stamp.io kind of plugs in over top of the Shopify review system and that combination has just been awesome for us. Specifically, I think what I like the best about them is that it allows customers to review directly from an email so they don’t have to login, go through this laborious process. They can just open an email, click a couple buttons, and their review is submitted. That’s a very cool feature.
And, then I’d say most importantly as we’ve now evolved into a true international company, we were faced with do we have a different website for every country? And, how do we manage all those different website? That was daunting because, you know, we have different models now. We have a French bottle, we have a German bottle, we have a British bottle, we have a French-Canadian bottle. And, on and on, but what we found that worker well the plug-in called Langify.
And, Langify basically allows us to create different versions of our site with different with different sub domains depending on where the person’s country is from. So, and then the other cool app that we plugged on top of that is one called Geolizer. And, what Geolizer does and it works really great with Langify is in the event that Google didn’t send you to your country’s version of our site, or sub domain, which it should, but let’s say it wasn’t indexed correctly or whatever, it will recognize that you’re from Germany and say in German you know we recognize that you’re in Germany would you like to go to the German version of our site?
And then, you click a button and it just takes you right to it. So, you know those two together, the efficiency that we can realize in growing internationally with those two have just been awesome.
Felix: That’s cool that you just saw a couple apps and now you have an international exposure for your marketing. So, that’s great.
Ben: And, take nothing away from the hard work behind the scenes. I mean, [crosstalk 00:52:00] And, that’s … It’s interesting, ’cause I’ve actually been thinking lately, why is it that so many really well known brand, you know, household names are not sold internationally outside of your drop shipping for the United States? I think really, in my opinion, it just comes down to regulations.
And, not from a political standpoint or everything else. I mean, in America it’s pretty easy to launch a product. There’s not a lot of rules regulations here. I mean, no matter what you hear on the news, it’s pretty easy. But, if you want to sell in health and beauty in Canada and in the EU there all sorts of hurdles and regulations, and safety things that you have to pass in order to do that.
And, it’s not easy. It takes a lot of fortitude. There’s a lot of hard work. I mean I can’t tell you how many legal forms we had to sign over the last year or so in order to make this all happen, but you’re right. Once that hard work is done and we found these apps, it made it really easy to get the job done from our or Shopify site.
Felix: Yeah, very cool. So, anyone who wants to check it out, it’s chassisformen.com. That’s spelled, C-H-A-S-S-I-S F-O-R M-E-N dot com. So, there are more products coming out as we speak. And, as you’re launching your [inaudible 00:53:20]. What other goals do you have for the remainder of the year?
Ben: Well, really, I think our number one goal, just to dog tail what I was just speaking about is we want to go internationally. So, now we are officially an international brand but now we got to start converting. We are. Everyday it’s it’s growing. We just had our best day ever in Canada, just yesterday, in fact.
So, we just want to see that momentum continue to grow and obviously keep the American momentum as well. But, I just think that for all of the listeners that are listening if you have a Shopify site, or any kind of eCommerce presence, or you’re thinking about it, just think about the rising tide that we’re all on. I mean, everything on eCommerce is growing at a pace that is fairly astronomical at this point. And, if you look at all the economics reports there’s no end in sight. So, the funny thing is if you can just hitch a ride on this wave and not even do anything, you’re gonna grow. So, that’s a pretty cool thing to say and we’re happy to be a part of this ride.
Felix: That’s cool. Great advice. Thank you so much for your time, Ben.
Ben: Glad to be on the show. Thanks so much, Felix.
Felix: Here’s a sneak peek for what’s in store for the next Shopify Master episode.
Speaker 3: So, we ended up making probably 15 different 3D printed models before it was all said and done and we had the one we liked.
Felix: Thanks for listening to Shopify Masters, the eCommerce marketing podcast for ambitious entrepreneurs. To start your store today, visit shopify.com/masters to claim your extended 30-day free trial. Also, for this episode’s show notes, head over to shopify.com/blog.